The National Enquirer, and its publisher David Pecker, has been helping Donald Trump for years. The most notable instance occurred in the leadup to the 2016 presidential election when Pecker worked with Trump and Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, to “catch and kill” Karen McDougal’s story of an affair with Trump.
But McDougal, who was paid $150,000 for the rights to her story, wasn’t the only person with dirt on Trump. The Enquirer had for decades collected dirt on Trump, sometimes paying for the rights to salacious bits of information and then never making them public.
In the aftermath of the McDougal deal, the New York Times reports, Trump and Cohen became concerned about the treasure trove of trashy tabloid tales sitting dormant in the Enquirer offices. What if Pecker left? Or, “Maybe he gets hit by a truck,” as Trump suggested in a recorded conversation with Cohen.
So Trump and Cohen cooked up a plot to buy the whole lot of gossip —including “stories about Mr. Trump’s marital woes and lawsuits; related story notes and lists of sensitive sources; some tips about alleged affairs; and minutia, like allegations of unscrupulous golfing” — from the Enquirer.
Cohen even went so far as to discuss the matter with Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who is now working with federal prosecutors. Ultimately, the deal never came together, meaning the Enquirer may still have it all locked away in its dirty secrets vault.